Third Party & Independents Archives

We Need A New National Political Party

Set aside any Obama euphoria you feel. The other important news is that third-party presidential candidates had a miserable showing this year, totaling just over one percent of the grand total with 1.5 million votes nationwide, compared to some 123 million votes for Barack Obama and John McCain.

It couldn’t be clearer that Americans are not willing to voice their political discontent by voting for third-party presidential candidates. The two-party duopoly and plutocracy is completely dominant. The US lacks the political competition that exists in other western democracies. Without real political competition there is insufficient political choice.

A key problem is that for many years, third parties have not offered presidential candidates that capture the attention and commitment of even a modest fraction of Americans, unlike Ross Perot (8.4 percent in 1996 and 18.9 percent in 1992), and John Anderson (6.6 percent in 1980).

This year, among the four most significant third-party presidential candidates, Ralph Nader without a national party did the best with 685,426 votes or 0.54 percent of the grand total (a little better than in 2004 with 0.4 percent but much worse than in 2000 running as a Green Party candidate with 2.7 percent). He was followed by Bob Barr the Libertarian Party candidate with 503,981 votes or 0.4 percent of the total (typical of all Libertarian candidates in recent elections, including Ron Paul in 1988), followed by Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party with just 181,266 votes or 0.1 percent, and then Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party with only 148,546 votes or 0.1 percent.

Showing the problem of ballot access, engineered by the two major parties, is that there were only 15 states where all four were on the ballot. In all but one, Nader received more votes than the other three third-party candidates. In four states only one of the four candidates was on the ballot; in one state none of them were (Oklahoma).

Nader’s best state was California with 81,434 votes, as it was for McKinney’s with 28,624 votes. Baldwin was not on the ballot there. Alan Keyes received 30,787 votes in California. Barr’s best state was Texas with 56,398 votes. None of the other three were on the ballot there. In his home state of Georgia where he had been a Representative Barr received 28,420 votes (and none of the other three were on the ballot). Baldwin’s best state was Michigan with 14, 973 votes. Nader was not on the ballot there.

In round numbers, Barack Obama raised $639 million or about $10 per vote, and John McCain raised $360 million or $6 per vote, compared to Ralph Nader with $4 million and $6 per vote, Bob Barr with about $1 million or $2 per vote, and Cynthia McKinney with only about $118,000 or less than $1 per vote. Money matters, but the ability of the two-party duopoly to keep third-party presidential candidates out of nationally televised debates matters more for media attention, money and votes.

It must also be noted that there were countless congressional races with third-party and independent candidates, but none were able to win office, with only a very few reaching the 20 percent level. That third-party candidates can win local government offices means little because political party affiliation at that level is overshadowed by personal qualifications.

I say that current third-party activists should admit defeat, shut down their unsuccessful parties, and move on. Unlike so much of American history, current third-parties no longer play a significant role in American politics or even in affecting public policies. They have shown their inability to matter.

We need a new, vibrant political party that could bring many millions of American dissidents, progressives and conservatives, and especially chronic non-voters, together behind a relatively simple party platform focused on structural, government system reforms (not merely political change). Examples include: replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote for president, restoring the balance between Congress and the presidency, eliminating the corrupting influence of special interest money from politics, preventing the president to use signing statements to nullify laws passed by Congress.

What would unite people is a shared priority for revitalizing American democracy. It should position itself as a populist alternative and opponent to the two-party plutocracy. It should define itself as against the corporate and other special interests on the left and right that use money to corrupt our political system. Possible names: Patriotic Party, United Party or National Party. With Thomas Jefferson as its spiritual founder it should seek the political revolution he said was needed periodically.

Here is what helps. Despite considerable enthusiasm for Barack Obama, there is widespread unhappiness with both the Democratic and Republican Parties. One indication is that so voters register as independents. Plus there has always been a chorus of negative views about the two-party system. In one pragmatic sense this is the ideal time to create a new party. Why? Because of the incredible loss of stature of the Republican Party. Why not envision a new party that could replace the Republican Party on the national stage and provide a sharp alternative to the Democratic Party? In other words, we don’t need a new third party as much as we need a new major party.

[Joel S. Hirschhorn can be reached through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.]

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at November 12, 2008 2:27 PM
Comments
Comment #270222

Joel, your article is after my own heart. I have written of these proposals many times over the years, and it is refreshing to see another writer take up the torch.

This is the first article of yours I have read in which I can find nothing to disagree with substantially. In fact, the only line in the whole article I would not agree with is the very first sentence: “Set aside any Obama euphoria you feel.”

I voted for him. I am not about to set aside my euphoria over the high hopes I have for this potentially one of a kind great presidents whose greatness can be defined by the terrible challenges our nation faces.

That said, one president cannot do the heavy reformation lifting you and I agree must take place to restore a productive, balanced, and healthy democratic republic.

Very fine article. 10 thumbs up!

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 12, 2008 4:08 PM
Comment #270229

Well, let me say this about that. It’s about time!

You wrote: “I say that current third-party activists should admit defeat, shut down their unsuccessful parties, and move on. Unlike so much of American history, current third-parties no longer play a significant role in American politics or even in affecting public policies. They have shown their inability to matter.”

Agree. You need only a few minutes to look at their proposed agendas to write them off as a potential alternative Party. All of them should fold their tents and agree to support a REAL third Party with a REAL reform agenda.

Your wrote: (come) “together behind a relatively simple party platform focused on structural, government system reforms (not merely political change). Examples include: replacing the Electoral College with the popular vote for president, restoring the balance between Congress and the presidency, eliminating the corrupting influence of special interest money from politics, preventing the president to use signing statements to nullify laws passed by Congress.”

All good stuff. I would support every recommendation you made relative to reform in “Delusional Democracy.” You will recognize many of them in my Vision for USA statement. All reform issues and void of social issues. Social issues, while important, only serve to divide. It’s way more important to achieve reform first and deal with other issues downstream in the natural give and take of governing.

You wrote: “What would unite people is a shared priority for revitalizing American democracy. It should position itself as a populist alternative and opponent to the two-party plutocracy. It should define itself as against the corporate and other special interests on the left and right that use money to corrupt our political system.”

I agree. Take the middle ground for that is what people really want. We don’t want to kill business or stifle entrepreneurism. But, we certainly don’t want to be governed by corpocracy. Certainly we need to abolish Corporate Personhood and Money is Free Speech as law.

You wrote: “Possible names: Patriotic Party, United Party or National Party. With Thomas Jefferson as its spiritual founder it should seek the political revolution he said was needed periodically.”

PERFECT. A name reflecting the populist (Jacksonian) era would do fine. How about the Independent Populist Party? It is in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson that we should dedicate ourselves to such a Party. He may yet forgive us for failing to revolutionize and fight political tyranny.

And, … . you knew I wouldn’t forget! How do we know this new Party will not become just another Party like the Dems and Reps in a few years? Legally or illegally, moneyed interest will work their way into power over time. Thomas told us that. So, what are your thoughts on a new third party with a different political attitude? How about a Party whose member’s have oversight responsibility for members who become elected/appointed state or federal officials? A Party whereby members can vote to revoke the membership of an official who strays to far from the Party agenda.

Replacing the Republican Party in 12. My My! Well, we better get hoppin!

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 12, 2008 5:36 PM
Comment #270233

I agree. 10 thumbs up!

We have serious problems.

I predict that this will give rise to a 3rd party in the next 4-to-6 years.

Why?

As always, pain and misery is a wonderful motivator.

But the fact is, a 3rd, 4th, 5th, or umpteenth party isn’t necessary.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at November 12, 2008 7:13 PM
Comment #270237

First, put aside any sense of entitlement you may have. Democrats felt entitled for a long time to be elected. We only just managed it this year and in 2006, in no small part because we got a little bit more flexible about who we talked to.

If you go up to a voters and say, vote for me, or you’re a moron, They’ll likely send you to charm school before they’ll send you to Washington to represent them. Instead, you should go for appeals which are sympathetic, both in manner and intent, which don’t challenge their deeply held beliefs, but which find a way to express your ideas in those terms in a way that works.

You must respect the voter. Keep all thoughts that these people are morons who shouldn’t be trusted to tie their shoes much less elect them on the back burner of your mind, if you let them there at all. In fact, it’s for the best if you don’t secretly despise the voters, but instead keep an open, optimistic mind about them, because generally a) they happen to be good people, and b) people like to hear nice things from their politicians anyways. They don’t seem to like the other position for some strange reason. I think it has something to do with self-respect.

It helps us if we approach folks as equals, and understand that we must compete for the privilege of their respect, rather than being entitled to it from the get-go. The whole point of elections are that politicans must submit to our judgment. If such submission seems to be an inconvenience or a bother to you, the American people are apt to say, the door’s over there, don’t let it hit you in the behind on the way out.

Okay. that said, here’s what I think:

1) I’ve been telling you guys, you have to be in this to win. If you want to wait around for people to just start spontaneously electing you, being the spoilers in tight elections and the spectators in blowouts is your fate. Americans must trust the rising third party to handle the tasks people give them. If you can’t run a town, why let you run a county or a state? If you can’t run a county or a state, why should we let you represent one in Congress? If you can’t represent a state in Congress, why should we let you stand as the leader of all Americans and the free world to boot?

I agree that it is unlikely that any of today’s narrowly focused, highly ideological parties will likely capture the nation’s imagination. But I doubt they could really set aside their differences in enough good faith to keep the party together for long. If the party has any hope of being a mainstream party, it has to start close enough to the mainstream that it neither threatens nor offends the sensibilities of the average American.

To be competitive, this new party cannot come from the right, but instead must come from the center Whatever you call the party is irrelevant, so long as it has a nice ring to it; The Fact that one party calls itself Green, another the Constitution party, and so on and so forth doesn’t get people to vote for it.

What gets people to vote is the belief that there will be a return on that investment. America is in no mood to support a new, partisan party with no background in constructing actual policy.

Oh, and a word to those idolizing overseas multi-party systems: parliamentary systems are constructed to where the majority (or plurality) party or coalition essentially holds all the power. Minority parties are not just out, but OUT. Our simple system of election by majorities and pluralities means that the party with the most votes wins. Those who split their majorities lose. The political self-interest of the average person will therefore tend to favor the most undiluted concentration of power possible in a multi-party Democracy.

Movement towards the middle is natural in this system. It’s like the old Game Theory set up with two competing Ice Cream Stands setup trying to take the most business from each other’s half of a beach. Eventually, both stands end up in the center.

Which finally brings up an interesting question: what happens when that third party takes over for one party, another, or part of both?

I think power tends to corrupt, regardless of intentions. Naturally, I’m not to the point where I think the Democratic Party is too far gone to save. But I’ve seen some members of my party wallow in corruption, just the same. Nobody’s incorruptible. It’s not enough to hold each other accountable, we must hold ourselves accountable.

I know, fine sentiments. Will I back them up? I should. Because If I don’t get the kind of Democrats I want, whomever could I blame? Primaries matter, people. If nothing else, they serve to scare the s*** out of candidates who know their districts are safely in one party’s hands. It’s the one place where a guilty politician can be put in double jeopardy.

Oh, a bit of interesting news to wrap things up: Our most recently convicted Congresscritter may still end up on the ashheap of incumbency Just thought y’all might like to know that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 12, 2008 10:29 PM
Comment #270238

Stephen D. said: “What gets people to vote is the belief that there will be a return on that investment. America is in no mood to support a new, partisan party with no background in constructing actual policy.”

Excuse me? Didn’t they just elect Obama who fits that description? Obama’s background in constructing actual policy was actually his biggest negative, bigger than being a person of color.

That dog don’t hunt, Stephen. People will vote for a person they can believe in. Background in actual policy is secondary. That is one of the weaknesses of democracy, as evidenced by the elections of many an authoritarian and dictator in the world in the recent past and even today. Hell, that’s how GW Bush was elected. His actual policy record was virtually non-existent. The Gov. of Texas is more a figurehead position, the Lt. Gov. is the true working governor.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 12, 2008 11:28 PM
Comment #270243

This is a very fine article.

Obama’s landslide victory and its historical significance has largely eclipsed the further marginalization of third parties in US politics. And yet these parties, free as they are of corporate obligations, play a vital role in the democratic process.

For more: http://www.ilpodesta.org/2008/11/forgetting-face-of-pluralism.html

Posted by: Eliane Luthi at November 13, 2008 4:24 AM
Comment #270246

David R. Remer-
You misunderstand me. Look, Obama didn’t have a whole lot of positive evidence in terms of acheivements, nor years of seniority, but even he had some experience in the state and national legislation, and in the election, what won it for him is that he demonstrated that his lesser experience was better learned from.

Here’s the real question: how many Libertarians, Greens, or other third party folks are actually building up even Obama’s kind of experience? Until you get people who can say, “I ran a city or state well.”, or “I represented my district well.”, then who will hand them greater power? If Obama had run just as some organizer, lawyer, or even a mere state legislature, he would have had a tougher row to hoe.

Obama proved you didn’t have to wait your turn. But he didn’t prove that people would just hand that office to just anybody. Look at people’s response to Palin. Trust me, folks have learned the lesson of Bush. They want substance. But what substance does a person have if they never held elected office?

I’m not trying to make things more difficult. I’m merely saying that it will be easier for people to vote for these folks for higher office if they are familiar public figures with records of success and competence in bringing about policy. Obama supplemented his admittedly lesser experience more or less by managing a historic political realignment of his party and winning a landslide victory in states he shouldn’t have been viable in. He shouldn’t be taken as a typical case, unless you have some sort of charismatic political prodigy in your back pocket.

Absent such political strength, third parties need to build up their farm teams and league rosters. They need to have a substantial presence in people’s lives. People don’t know how a libertarian or a green party person governs. If third parties can demonstrate that they are better managers, better policy workers, then they’ll gain a political advantage accordingly. If you have to start from dogcatcher or city council, so be it. But if you’re a better dogcatcher, a better councilor, then that prepares you for the next step up.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2008 8:08 AM
Comment #270248

Stephen D., your comments reflect abject ignroance of what they are talking about.

Cynthia McKinney, Bob Barr, Ralph Nader, each and everyone has more experience with legislation and federal government than Barack Obama.

You can’t change facts to suit the victory, Stephen, if you know what the facts are. If you don’t, then don’t try to build an argument on guesswork and unverified assumptions.

I didn’t misunderstand you. You are reiterating a fallacious argument - experience is a vital component for election. It can be the case, but isn’t always. Confidence and trust are far greater components, which can be, but not necessarily, supported or detracted by experience. Sometimes, experience is fairly irrelevant, as in this election of Obama, where change, not experience with the status quo, is preferred.

Barack Obama was familiar to NO ONE outside of Illinois when he began his presidential bid. NO ONE knew who Sarah Palin was outside of Alaska before she became the VP nominee. Your argument doesn’t hold water.

A competitive third party must have a platform which appeals to a potential majority of Americans in the center. It must have visibility with endorsements from people and organizations which voters have familiarity and identity with. It must have excellent organizational talent capable of developing a grass roots national strategy for increasing visibility and getting their platform out. And lastly, it must be a party which has candidates which the voters can identify with, respect, and who instill confidence in their commitment to abide that party platform that appeals to voters.

Experience in governance is not amongst these prerequisites. Though it could be an important adjunct. Ross Perot had no legislative experience and he created a potential third party threat to the establishment in record time, just before unveiling his eccentricities which lost his election. Examples abound demonstrating that experience in actual policy making is not necessary to political victory.

Dole and Daly are examples of how simple name recognition substitutes for experience in policy making for getting elected.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2008 9:14 AM
Comment #270251

David,

Oh come on.

I’ve been reading and posting here since before Bush’s second election, and the one thing that we have all come to depend on as the result of those elections is that the “third parties” will be trounced on a regular basis, and that the “third party” supporters will whine and bitch about how they can’t get a foot in the door.
This country apparently elects people that at very least can give the illusion of leadership.
So you guys are telling me that Nader, Barr, and McKinney are the best choices you can give me?
It seems pretty clear to me that “name recognition” requires either great deeds, or vast sums of money, or both.
So what exactly is Joel’s point?

The Libertarian Party has been around for nearly 40 years, hardly the new kid on the block.
Barr has been through the campaign process before, and he should know how this works, as well should Nader and McKinney. Yet the “best and brightest” of these three was only able to garner a mere 1/2 of 1% of the popular vote, and the three combined captured a whopping 1%.

Gee, it seems the bottom line is that these folks will have to work just a little bit harder if they want to get their guys elected to President.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 13, 2008 10:24 AM
Comment #270253

Rocky, thanks for ignoring everyone of the criteria I laid out as prerequisite to a competitive third party. We simply have nothing to discuss since your comment chooses to ignore the relevant for the irrelevant.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2008 10:43 AM
Comment #270257

David,

I am truly sorry that you feel that my opinion is only worthy of your derision.
Yet here we are 4 years later having the exact same discussion, and nothing has changed except the candidates in question.

I suppose that relevance is relative.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 13, 2008 11:01 AM
Comment #270268

This government is in dire need of reform. We know we will not get reform through the duopoly. We must have an instrument or tool that can be used to achieve reform. That tool is a New Third Party. Voting non-performing incumbents from office and struggling to gain access to Article V Convention are additional ways to achieve some level of reform. However, I view a third party WITH A DIFFERENT POLITICAL ATTITUDE as a way to achieve REAL and DEEP reform with a scapel precision that you can’t possibly attain through any other device. Well, we can’t have too much reform. I like the idea of a parallel front for the Revolution. My website, www.demreps.com, advocates for a populist third party and also for VOID and FOAVC. Homing in on Joel’s article:

A New Third Party must lead from the center. A centrist position is what the majority of voters would support. A New Party must significantly distinguish itself from other parties. ((you can’t know how good this feels- talking nuts and bolts for a New Third Party))

Three major distinguishing features

ACCOUNTABILITY: Lacking in government and in every single third party. Accountability must be a part of the political equation. How to achieve that and to what degree can be debated. Accountability must be structured in the Party at it’s inception and in such a way that it can never be monkeyed with without a large majority membership approval. Something like a mini-Constitution if you will. I have given considerable thought as to how to invoke accountability. I’ve urged debate here and on other sites and have found little interest to date. Here is my recommendation.

A Party agenda should be revised an approved by the membership every 4 years.

1. Members will sign a pledge to support the agenda and RULES set forth by the Party.

2. Members will cast their votes via the Internet on the Party’s website.

3. To change, add, or delete a PARTY rule requires a two-thirds approval by the VOTING membership.

4. If X percent of MEMBERS submit a complaint against another member a mandatory vote to clear or terminate will be held. All complaints must be posted, in a cumulative manner, on the Party’s website (a proforma and automated process – hands off)

5. A PARTY MEMBER who holds an official Party position, or an elected Federal position or Cabinet Head, Supreme Court Justice, Political Appointee, Ambassador, Vice President, or President must enjoy a two-thirds approval rating from the national party MEMBERSHIP. Otherwise, his/her party affiliation will be terminated with no further support for current or future political endeavors.

6. A PARTY MEMBER who is elected to a State office must enjoy a two-thirds approval rating from that States party MEMBERSHIP. Otherwise, his/her party affiliation will be terminated and he/she will not be supported for any current or future political endeavors.


Reform Agenda: Most parties don’t include an agenda or platform. Many use generalized topics as a substitute for an agenda. A REAL reform agenda should target solely reform issues, steering clear of social issues to the extent possible. Reform is priority number one. Social issues can follow later. Voters should be presented with an agenda that expresses reform issues directly and distinctly. General terms or slogans such as ‘campaign finance reform’ won’t hack it. ‘Reform campaign financing through the abolishment of Corporate Personhood and Money Is Free Speech’ tells the voter exactly what will be done to achieve campaign finance reform.

Vision for the USA: A REAL party should present a vision for the near term future. Voters should be presented with a forward looking, futuristic statement. Here is my idea of such a statement. Many of the issues are from Joel’s “Delusional Democracy”.

 The US Government is withdrawn from supporting Globalization and a North American Union. Government funding and support for corporations to relocate overseas is stopped.
 International trade agreements have been nullified or renegotiated ensuring there is no loss of American sovereignty, trade is fair and balanced, and human and worker rights are protected.
 Government is more open and transparent to the public. Information retrieved through the Freedom of Information Act is made available within two weeks of the request. Unclassified meeting and conference areas of congress are considered public access through the media.
 The Federal Reserve is a program office within and subordinate to the Treasury Dept.

A 17% flat tax is adopted based on gross income with no taxation below the poverty level. Deduction, depreciation’s, and subsidies have been removed. Offshore tax havens are illegal under the law. A usury law is in effect.
 All Agency head positions are to be filled with senior government staff executives. Assignments to these positions are rotated on a four year basis.
 Trade agreements are ‘treaties’ and must be ratified by congress. Agreements are no longer made using trade as a foreign policy tool or a form of foreign aid.
 The Federal Trade Commission negotiates all trade agreements with the participation of selected industry leaders, environmentalist, concerned citizens and pertinent Agency heads. US sovereignty law is being strictly enforced. Every trade agreement or contract will so state that US sovereignty law overrides said agreement or contract.
 Strong anti-trust laws are enacted to prevent monopolies and insure competition.
 Election Day is a National Holiday.
 Political parties hold state primaries on the same day.
 Electoral College is modified to produce a one person, one vote effect in the general election.
 Media exposure for political candidates is mandated through Federal law. This law ensures sufficient media exposure for candidates of the five major parties in the run-up to election.
 Government controls are in effect to prevent budget deficits two years in sequence.
 Only federal and state collected monies are permitted in campaign financing.
 Illegal immigration is stopped with the completion of a border fence and adequate border and internal security enforcement. Laws against hiring and harboring illegal aliens are enforced.
 Corporations are no longer treated under the law as having human rights.
 Law is enacted to prevent the use of Eminent Domain for economic development or increasing tax revenue.
 The Dept. of Energy is reorganized to support a large scientific staff in the quest for alternative sources of energy. This new office will leverage the knowledge and technology of U.S. government agencies, universities, leading scientists and corporations. This program will use U.S manufactured materials and labor. Government will establish a minimum labor rate based on the cost of living for one individual supporting a four member family household.
 Our manufacturing base is restored, ensuring our ability to manufacture war materials for our defense.
 A Federal Government sponsored program to build a modern merchant marine shipping fleet has been approved. Research and design is being carried out for the production of lightweight vessels powered by non-fossil fuel systems. This program will use U.S manufactured materials and labor. Government will establish a minimum labor rate based on the cost of living for one individual supporting a four member family household.
 The Federal Government, in cooperation with State Government, is planning for infrastructure upgrade in all major U.S. cities. This program will use U.S manufactured materials and labor. Government will establish a minimum labor rate based on the cost of living for one individual supporting a four member family household.
 College student positions are increased by 10% across all technical, medical, and scientific fields of study. A corresponding 10% reduction in foreign student positions is effected.
 A pro-longed effort to elevate all public high schools curricula to that of college preparatory is in effect.
 Voting rights are restored to those who have completed incarceration.
 A nation wide training program for semi-skilled and skilled labor is in effect to provide reduced or free training/certification directed at specific fields of employment. The government will facilitate the attendance of low risk inmates and they will be awarded reduced incarceration time on completion of such training. Government and civic organizations are carrying out a nation wide job placement program.
 Work continues to place a permanent manned presence on the moon.
 Work continues on a manned Mars’s expedition.
 Restoration of the Social Security program has been implemented.
 Health care programs are undergoing a six-month evaluation and will be placed on a national referendum.
 Corporate and farming subsidies are terminated.
 Government and citizen groups negotiate with pharmaceuticals on the cost of prescription drugs. Citizens and government entities can purchase pharmaceuticals from reliable overseas markets.

This is a work in progress. Need to assimilate similar issues, add a few more and then scrub down based on some priority. But, it makes the point of using direct statements rather than general topics to define reform issues.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 13, 2008 1:05 PM
Comment #270270

Roy Ellis.

Excellent list.
Great goals.

Abuses and problems …
Painful consequences …
Solutions …

It appears that many of our problems are not so much “new things” we should do (with a few exceptions, such as alternative energy development), but “old absues” (see above) we should stop doing.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at November 13, 2008 1:38 PM
Comment #270271
Stephen Daugherty wrote: First, put aside any sense of entitlement you may have. Democrats felt entitled for a long time to be elected. We only just managed it this year and in 2006, in no small part because we got a little bit more flexible about who we talked to.
Enjoy the IN-PARTY status while it lasts, because who will be blamed in 2-to-4 years (or less) for the worsening economic conditions, which has never been worse since the Great Depression?

Voters will (as usual) blame the IN-PARTY, whether fair or not, regardless of the usual obstructionism of the OUT-PARTY, regardless of the fact that ALL of Congress are to blame, and most voters are to blame for rewarding 95% of the incumbents with re-election.

Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you go up to a voters and say, vote for me, or you’re a moron, They’ll likely send you to charm school before they’ll send you to Washington to represent them. Instead, you should go for appeals which are sympathetic, both in manner and intent, which don’t challenge their deeply held beliefs, but which find a way to express your ideas in those terms in a way that works… . You must respect the voter.
Calling voters names isn’t productive.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: Keep all thoughts that these people are morons who shouldn’t be trusted to tie their shoes much less elect them on the back burner of your mind, if you let them there at all. In fact, it’s for the best if you don’t secretly despise the voters, but instead keep an open, optimistic mind about them, because generally a) they happen to be good people, and b) people like to hear nice things from their politicians anyways. They don’t seem to like the other position for some strange reason. I think it has something to do with self-respect.
Wise advice. Most voters are not morons or deserve to be despised.

However, despite the fact that we all have the freedom to vote as we choose, and the right to not be harassed in any way for the way we choose to vote (or not vote at all), the truth about the majority of voters can not, and should not be ignored either. Voting rights and voting habits do not prohibit debate and analysis of voters’ voting habits.

We need to find out why voters give Congress dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings, but then reward Congress with 95% re-election rates.
Isn’t that a problem?
And/or, is the system broken?
And/or, are are too many voters delusional?
And/or, is government simply too corrupt?
And/or, are the vote counts accurate enough?

The truth appears to be the majority of voters are themselves the voters biggest problem, since:

  • [01] Too many voters are quite simply too irresponsible, and capable of doing better by becoming more educated and informed, because it is most of the voters themselves who will suffer most from the consequences of failing to do so. Yet, too many voters do not even know who their Congress persons are, much less their Congress persons’ voting records.

  • [02] 40%-to-50% of voters do not care to vote at all.

  • [03] 90% of elections are won by the candidate that spends the most money (ususally the incumbent politician due to vast unfair incumbent advantages).

  • [04] 99.7% of all 200 million eligible voters are vastly out-spent by a tiny 0.3% of the wealthiest voters who make 83% of all federal campaign donations of $200 or more (One-Simple-Idea.com/OpenSecrets_DonorDemographics.htm).

  • [05] Too many voters fail to see how the clever No-Same-Party-Challenger(s) mechanism? keeps the incumbent politicians’ re-election rates high and their incumbencies more secure, since most voters will NEVER vote for challengers in the OTHER evil party, despite the voters’ dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress, and despite their ability to name 50, 100, 200, or merely 268 (half of 535) incumbent politicians in Congress that are not irresponsible, corrupt, FOR-SALE, and/or incompetent, and deserve re-election. Too many voters find it easier to pretend that the problem is everyone else’s incumbent politicians, and/or ONLY the OTHER party. Since too many voters have been convinced to hate the politicians in the OTHER party, those voters are more likely to re-elect the incumbent politicians in THEIR party, despite the fact that the incumbent politicians in THEIR party equally irresponsible, corrupt, FOR-SALE, and/or incompetent. As a result, often, even convicted felons (such as Ted Stevens) and indicted politicians (such as William Jefferson caught red-handed with dirty money hidden in his freezer) are repeatedly rewarded with re-election. And even if convicted, some may receive pardons or commuted sentences; placing them above the law. And even if convicted and incarcerated, many still receive their multi-million dollar pensions and benefits.

  • [06] Too many voters focus on indeterminable issues issues (e.g. abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc.), to fuel the circular partisan warfare, rather than build unity to solve many other pressing problems that most voters already agree upon (i.e. both the problem and solution).

  • [07] Too many voters succumb to group-think and lazily choose to wallow in the circular, distracting, divisive, partisan warfare, and politicians love to fuel it for obvious reasons. Many politicians are experts at fueling the circular partisan warfare, and capitalizing on many voters’ laziness, and propensity to pull the party-lever. Who among us has never pulled the party-lever? The party-lever was one of the many clever mechanisms that help maintain very high re-election rates for incumbent politicians.

  • [08] Too many voters lazily choose to be partisan-centric or people-centric, instead of principle centric, educated, and informed. People are imperfect. Principles are timeless. Too many voters are not aware of their own principles, much less the principles and policies of their own incumbent politicians.

  • [10] Too many voters let THEIR party do their thinking for them, assume that THEIR party has already carefully thought most things all through, and is truly lookin’ out for them, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary and the voters’ dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings for Congress. The truth could be embarrassing, which explains the reluctance to face the truth.

  • [11] Too many voters simply blame the OTHER party, rather than admit few (if any) real differences of any importance.

  • [12] Too many voters lazily and blindly pull the party-lever, rather than do the work to research voting records, deeds, and official positions and policies. Many voters don’t even know who their Congress persons are, much less their voting records.

  • [13] Too many voters fail to understand that short-sighted selfishness, laziness, and choosing the path of least resistance like water running down-hill, is the path to more pain and misery.

  • [14] Too many voters choose to ignore the important issues even THEIR own politicians are wrong about (e.g. illegal immigration, regressive taxation, unnecessary wars, constitutional violations, and numerous other abuses), or sacrifice previous held principles by mimicing a pretzel while trying to somehow rationalize, minimize, and/or justify those abuses. Too many voters rationalize blind partisan loyalty with the excuses:
    • that the OTHER party is worse (which isn’t likely to any significan degree, except for the usual shift of abused power and obstructionism available to the current IN-PARTY/OUT-PART);

    • that things are getting better when they are actually getting worse; or that things are still getting worse is the fault of the OTHER party;

    • that change takes a long time and it is unrealistic and unfair to expect more improvment (thus, lowering expectations and rationalizing the lack of results);
  • [15] Too many voters choose to blame anything and everybody but themselves … at least until that becomes too painful.

  • [16] Too few votes sufficiently understand that the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

These facts may offend some voters, but those facts are offered as constructive criticism, and no one in this type of venue is forced to read it, nor agree with it.

Also, if that offends some voters, they should ask themselves:

  • Why?

  • It it because it threatens their own partisan loyalties?

  • It it because their own partisan loyalties are possibly misplaced?

  • It it because their own partisan loyalties are possibly self-delusion?

Lying about it and/or pretending it doesn’t exist will only let things get worse.
Though the truth is often very unpopular and controversial approach, the truth is the best approach.
Of course, calling voters stupid or morons isn’t the solution (even though some voters’ bad habits are very unwise to say the least).

However, persuasive, informational, logical, constructive criticism (i.e. Education) is the best method that can help to avoid the path to more pain and misery.
Voters have a choice, and all we have to improve government is to improve the voters voting habits, and all we have to do that (legally) is persuasion and Education.
Because if that fails, pain and misery will become the voters chosen path to their own Education.

Stephen Daugherty wrote: It helps us if we approach folks as equals, and understand that we must compete for the privilege of their respect …
OHHHHhhhhh … Like this ?
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: They [Republicans] cheat on their wives, get caught in the wrong kind of stances, wearing age-inappropriate underclothes and it never becomes a reason to return campaign funds. But that’s how desperate they are at this point. {Only Republicans do that?}
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: The Republicans have the choice, which I gladly let them have, of doing scuzzy things so they can make the Democrats look bad … {Only Republicans do that?}
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: How many people curse the Green party for George W. Bush (43) getting elected?
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I don’t disdain third parties. {Really? See the previous statement and the next 2 statements.}
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Being spoilers [independent/3rd party voters] only ensures being fringe…
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I’ve been rather cross about your tendency to call the new [110th elected 7-NOV-2006] congress a do-nothing congress … {Why? What did do-nothing Congress accomplish since 7-NOV-2006 ?}
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I told you that you shouldn’t do it [i.e. call the 110th Congress the “Do-Nothing Congress”], and you’re free to agree or not to agree with what I’m telling you to do.
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Some would retreat to the old comforts of fighting the Republicans{Yes, Yes, those evil Republicans!}
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: It’s what Democrats like myself had to do, after all, to take back the majorities and the White House. {After all, winning seats is all that is important, eh?}
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: We’re [Democrats] hardly dumb enough to take tips on avoiding sleazy connections from the Republicans.
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: They [voters] should be allying with us [Democrats].
Well, your beloved Democrats now have the Executive Branch and a majority in both houses.

I don’t care which party has control, since it doesn’t appear to make much difference.
The IN-PARTY will crap in the nest, and crap on voters until the voters make the OUT-PARTY the new IN-PARTY … at least until that becomes too painful, and voters oust dozens of incumbent politicians in all parties (as occurred in year 1861, 1875, 1891, 1895, 1911, 1915, 1933, 1949, and 1995, when 100 to over 200 incumbent politicians in both main parties were ousted from office: One-Simple-Idea.com/CongressMakeUp_185_2008.htm ).
Was the last election so much about a liking (or love) of Democrats, or a hatred of Republicans, which blinds voters of the shared role of all incumbent politicians in Congress?
Some people say voters mostly vote “for” something, than they vote “against” something.
I wonder if that is really true?
Hatred can be powerfully effective, when politicians constantly fuel the partisan warfare.
There is no doubt that a lot of the hatred some people have of the OTHER party is irrational.
And often, since it is easier to blame the OTHER party than admit THEIR own party isn’t much (if any) better, hatred is linked to laziness.
Therefore, not all real reasons either party is able to convince enough voters to make them the IN-PARTY are rational nor only positive.
That is, unless the government is bribing the voters with their own tax dollars, such as promising to give voters something (e.g. tax cuts, medicare, social security, health care, stimulus checks, and other benefits, etc.).

Any way, what are the chances now of sufficient reforms when we still have:

  • (1) the same players (95% re-elected)?

  • (2) the same teams (Democrat/Republican)?

  • (3) the same old game?

Who was disappointed after the lack of progress after the 7-NOV-2006 election?
Can we expect anything to change much this go-around (if any), when 95% of incumbents in Congress were re-elected?
Can we expect anything to changes enough (due to decades of economic deterioration)?
After all, due to many decades of deterioration (under BOTH Democrat and Republican majorities), it is now going to require a level of discipline and responsiblity that may not be possible with 95% of the same incumbents in Congress.
That is, the voters may have sabotaged the new President/VP by repeatedly rewarding Congress with 85%-to-95% re-election rates.
Why should we beleive that the federal government will now suddenly become sufficiently responsible and accountable?
Is it realistic, or delusional optimism to expect things to get any better, when things are more likely to get worse?

Stephen Daugherty wrote: Oh, a bit of interesting news to wrap things up: Our most recently convicted Congresscritter [Ted Stevens] may still end up on the ashheap of incumbency Just thought y’all might like to know that.
Good. Are you telling us that because he is a Republican, or because he is an incumbent? What’s up with Rep. William Jefferson’s (Dem-LA 2nd district) case? Nothin’ like fuelin’ the partisan warfare, eh?

We urgently need priorities and responsibility now, or a lot of Americans are going to suffer worse than most of them can imagine.

Rocky Mark wrote: I’ve been reading and posting here since before Bush’s second election, and the one thing that we have all come to depend on as the result of those elections is that the “third parties” will be trounced on a regular basis, and that the “third party” supporters will whine and bitch about how they can’t get a foot in the door.
Not me.

A third party might be one approach, but not necessarily the only approach.

I am fairly confident that some day, voters will finally be sufficiently motivated by pain and misery of their own making to do what is needed, and oust dozens of incumbent politicians in all parties (as occurred in year 1861, 1875, 1891, 1895, 1911, 1915, 1933, 1949, and 1995, when 100 to over 200 incumbent politicians in both main parties were ousted from office).

The goal is to help that happen sooner than later, since later will be more painful.
And too much focus on parties is probably a distraction from the more important issues that are leading us to the path of more pain and misery.

The best approach is the approach that is as simple as possible, but no simpler:

  • (1) organizing a third party is a gargantuan and costly effort that isn’t necessary anyway. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, but it isn’t the most simple path to better government. Third parties are a good thing, even if their candidates are seldom (if ever) elected, because they do get votes. Sometimes, third party candidates can get enough votes to change the political landscape. That’s a good thing.

  • (2) while there’s nothing wrong with creating another party, a third party is not necessary, as demonstrated by the unhappy voters of year 1933 who ousted a whopping 206 members of Congress (dozens in BOTH parties: 59 Democrats, 147 Republicans). That’s what will happen again, if things are allowed to deteriorate too much.

  • (3) while there’s nothing wrong with creating another party, a third party is not necessary, because parties consist of voters, and the voters are what must change before voters can ever hope to change their own government, and government won’t become more transparent, accountable, and responsible until enough voters become more responsible, and stop rewarding bad incumbent politicians with 95% re-election rates (which will most likely happen when failing to do so finally becomes too painful).

  • (4) in the end, the true self-correction mechanism is not the motivation provided by any party, but the pain and misery resulting from the voters’ own bad voting habits. Repeatedly rewarding bad politicians with re-election will create the corruption and oppression that will create the pain and misery that will finally provide the motivation for enough voters to stop repeatedly rewarding bad politicians with re-election. That does not require another party.

  • (5) Education is what is truly needed to make the cycle of Corruption less severe. Perhaps the American Civil War could have been avoided had there been better Education. Perhaps we can avoid another Civil War with better Education about the Civil War and the abuses that can lead to civil war (such as these 10 abuses: One-Simple-Idea.com/DisparityTrend.htm), which many voters are not even aware of; especially the abuses within the monetary system). Voters need to choose whether they want their Education the smart way, or the hard way, but either way, they will get their Education.

At any rate, regardless of political parties, it is up to the voters, and the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at November 13, 2008 2:17 PM
Comment #270274

OK, d.a.n, not you.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 13, 2008 3:11 PM
Comment #270276

David R. Remer-
Nice to see you’ve kept your diplomatic touch. Yes, their presidential candidates have experience. All in different parties, though. Barr is former Republican, McKinney is former Democrat. Unfortunately, you don’t see my real point: the trust the voters have for the party.

This process I’m talking about is not merely about mainstream candidates moving their mainstream experience out to the fringes of the political mainstream. It is about the third parties becoming part of the political fabric of the nation. The experience that’s important in my argument is not the candidates experience in office, but the voter’s experience of the candidates. Obama became an acceptable choice not because he had a long record of service in Washington, but because he and his politics became well known to people over the course of his campaign. Without that familiarity and comfort with Obama and his promised policies, he would have been a serious long shot for the office.

If your ultimate goal is to get somebody else than a Republican or Democrat in the highest office in the land, to put no office out of the reach of a third party candidate, then getting people comfortable and familiar with your policies and politics is crucial for creating a stable shot at emergence on the national stage.

If Sarah Palin had been a Presidential candidate in the primary, she might have had that chance to educate voters. It’d be an open question of whether people would actually like her after all was said and done (one reason I think she was dropped like a stealth candidate into the VP slot), but at least folks wouldn’t have been confronted with a blank slate that would invite scrutiny and a hunger to dig deeper. Obama’s inexperience and unfamiliarity with the national stage was put behind him long before Palin was air-dropped into the election.

I’m not trying to discourage you folks here. I’m trying to tell you that if you want to build a base for a national party, you’re better off with a deliberate strategy of ground-up construction, rather than waiting for that lucky coincidence of a charismatic candidate combined with a populace opened to experimenting beyond the two parties.

Build your foundations, is my advice. Build your base of power. Make your party known quantities, known for competence and good work on the behalf of the people you represent and govern. Don’t depend on the vagueries of a charismatic candidate or compelling rhetoric. Unless and until voters have a clear, positive feel for what your folks are capable of, you won’t have a solid basis for advancing third-party power with any real strength.

Don’t depend on the fickle winds of political trends. If Obama does well as President, he will take much of the oxygen out of the room for third parties as a protest agaisnt the main ones.

Don’t depend on some other party to fail to give you that opening. Democrats waited for years for that opening, and at what a cost! We needed somebody like Obama earlier. And Obama had an already existing party base to work from, one he augmented during the campaign. The new third party will need to build that base from scratch more than borrow it from disgruntled independents and party members.

I think we might be talking past each other. I talk from my experience being part of one of the two parties. If righteous rhetoric and charismatic candidates was what built parties, the Democrats would have either never lost Congress, or gotten it back by the end of Clinton’s term. Instead, we lost it for the better part of a generation. Why? Because we weren’t organized or connected to constituents in such a way as to break the Republican’s influence. Examine what we did in the 2006 and 2008 elections. That’s the experience I speak from.

Dan-
I don’t think the Democrats will be blamed for the economic situation, providing we don’t do something to make it fundamentally worse. I don’t think people’s memories are any shorter than they were in the Great Depression, or in the recessions of the seventies.

But that’s no excuse for doing nothing.

Frankly, I’ve never been fond of politics or bloviating on the topic. I’m looking for substantial and substantive improvement to our policies, not simply some coasting on the negative feelings towards the Republicans. While I am not shy about arguing against the Republican’s policies or candidates, that does not constitute a solid basis for a government going forward. I supported Barack Obama because I sensed that while Hillary could win an election, she could not effect real change in the system. She was too much a product of the system, rather than the author of a different one. I have hopes that Obama will change things, but not merely for political reasons; my aim was always an improvement in policy and the situation of this country.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2008 4:09 PM
Comment #270277

Roy Ellis, your list SUCKS!

IT alienates, divides, and would fail to appeal to the vast majority of the center left and right. And it leaves bay doors open for attacks from the left and right.

Pare it down to three items, keep it general, and keep it fundamental. That is how you reach the vast middle with appeal.

There is tons of research on these recommendations I offer, demonstrating their worth. Folks memories tend to be 3 items long on introductory material. General, sidesteps the right - left divide. Fundamental, appeals to folks common sense regardless of education level.

You want to sell the public on a new party platform, follow those 3 recommendations, and your chances will improve dramatically.

Your list reads like the impossible Ancient Greek story of Sisyphus due to its length, complexity, and specificity with clear opposition positions entrenched.

There is art and skill to this marketing and advertising business in the world of politics. I am just beginning to learn some of each, but, I am truly impressed with the volumes of research in these areas.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2008 4:11 PM
Comment #270278

Stephen D. said: “the trust the voters have for the party.”

Your point keeps shifting like McCain’s did.

You keep dodging my rebuttals to your the words of yours I responded to. Don’t change the subject. Speak the issue and words you raised and I rebutted.

I won’t move to a new topic of party trust until we have discussed the original words of yours and my rebuttal. Party trust is a whole different subject than your claim I rebutted.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2008 4:15 PM
Comment #270279

Stephen D. said: “If your ultimate goal is to get somebody else than a Republican or Democrat in the highest office in the land,”

The topic of the article is a new national party. Not electing a president. The Congress is the institution in dire need of reform, even more than the office president.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2008 4:18 PM
Comment #270285

Thanks, Joel, for the stats on the other candidates and the purchasing power of advertising. Brand name candidates seem to be a requirement for a 3rd party to get anywhere. RFKjr would be the ideal candidate for the Green party, but it’s pretty unlikely.

I don’t know why this column has a green header, since there has been nothing posted here that would justify it. It should be changed to purple, orange, or yellow.

A political party requiring “membership” sounds pretty disturbing and probably counterproductive in a free country.

Posted by: ohrealy at November 13, 2008 5:30 PM
Comment #270288

David R. Remer-
I’m not changing the subject.

Your rebuttal cited Obama’s inexperience to rebut my point about a party’s inexperience dealing with overall policy generation. Two things wrong with that: he was part of policy formulation over the twelve years of his political career. Even if he wasn’t, though, we’re not talking about one individual, but the party as a whole. Nobody’s going to accuse the Democratic Party of lacking depth or history on the policy front.

But what about your new party? I appreciate your advice to Roy Ellis, but I think you’re both wrong. People want to be familiar with the complexities of the party, as much as they want to be free from the prospect of having it all dropped on on them like a pop quiz from hell.

So how do you bring familiarity of complex issues to people? How do you get people familiar with the nuances of this party?

That’s where we come back to my point about the voter’s experience of the party. The answer is, there is no way that you can possibly engage people in a meaningful, dynamic, novel way without taking your time and spreading things out in a grander more strategic way. As a matter of fact, the policy and politics of your party needs the influence of interaction with the voters and working experience with the issues to move beyond the bland generalities of political theory.

Look at the Republican and Democratic Parties over history: neither is what it once was. As they served different states, different demographics, and as America changed as a civilization, shifted through technological advances, each changed.

Each party, to gain and maintain power over the long run, employed different strategies to appeal to broad cross-sections of the public. They might turn progressive, or become pro-business. They might make a fortress of a region, selling xenophobia to the people there, or they might invade their rival’s territory. They might make a point of aggressive partisanship, or appeal to higher principles. So on, so forth.

But over time, they build relationships with the people there that in turn build the basis for these political victories. Politics is a game of relationships, and if you aren’t in them, you’re out of the game.

You can’t build a party as an abstract and win the party national offices. It won’t just suddenly appear. It’s rise might be meteoric, but even there, something must be set up first.

I would look at the Clinton-Era Perot Party; it’s fate is instructive as to what happens when a party tries to build itself out of thin air and resentment, without elected officials and self-sufficient political relationships to keep it stable, keep it together. Then look at the Democrats as Obama and Howard Dean remade it. Obama’s victory is nothing if not a product of party infrastructure; the win was built on a lot of social networking and grassroots/netroots activity. It wasn’t merely a nice proposal on paper, but a social movement as well.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2008 6:02 PM
Comment #270293

Well, that’s more debate (two people) than I’ve experienced since I started this gig. David, are you crazi? Even if you could why would you want to carry the the far left and right? You should want, yes crave their opposition. The majority of the voters are common sense folks and seek the middle on most issues, which would be correct in every sense. If there is a clear divide between the liberal left and the corporate right that is a good thing. That is the best you could ever hope for. And tell me who could read your three general statements and derive from that a good sound knowledge of what your party is about? I encourage you to put us to a test. Put a few general party agenda statements out here and see what folks think. Heck, I’m not suggesting we flim flam the voters by putting forth a few general statements while keeping your real reform ideas secret. Your describing the modus operandi of the duopoly to a tee. We need a third party that can be seen as significantly distinct from other parties. Not interested in generalizing and dumbing down to be attractive. Marketing can be selling a good quality product for a fair profit or it can be a doozie wrapped in pretty paper with a rip off price tag. Proposed reform issues offer a chance for real debate and understanding. They shouldn’t be adopted until voted on by the membership. Easy thing to do over the Internet.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 13, 2008 6:44 PM
Comment #270297

Roy,

I kinda have to agree with David on this. If you make a platform as complicated as the tax code, peoples eyes will glaze over and you won’t reach them no matter how groovy your platform is.

I consider myself fairly educated and I had to fight to finish your post.
Perhaps you have more faith in the “average American” than I do.

Keep it simple, and to the point, and have people that know what they are doing.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at November 13, 2008 7:44 PM
Comment #270301

Here’s what I’d say: interest- that is, well-motivated attention on your part and the other person’s part- is rarely symmetrical, equal on both sides.

The situation you want to avoid is writing out a long list of points and things which you find compelling in such a way that others lacking your energy on the subject can’t find the energy to move through the bullet points themselves.

As a person who’s done some (unproduced) screenwriting, I’ve been exposed to a style of writing that is fairly fast paced, and strongly rooted in concrete imagery and situations.

As a person who has studied information and complexity theory, I’ve become convinced that more information is not necessarily more meaning, and how you guide people’s attention and structure your message affects how much meaning a viewer or reader may get out of things.

People don’t just think their way through this complex world, they feel their way through as well.

Which is all to say that if you engage people with stories and with compact, compelling arguments, you can present people with complex information and viewpoints that might otherwise be more tedious and less meaningful.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 13, 2008 8:47 PM
Comment #270304

Roy said: “Even if you could why would you want to carry the the far left and right?”

I think you completely misread what I wrote, or I miswrote what you were intended to read. That read is the opposite of what I said.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2008 9:47 PM
Comment #270305

Well, I’m glad for the interest even if not so favorable. What I am way suprised at is this idea that a one page list of 30 issues is way to complex and laborious for that stupalo couch potato of a man on the street. Just consider the number of books sold in this country every year. People can, and do read. Sometimes more than one page.
Checked out the DNC website. Their front page has an entity titled OUR PLAN that has four brief sentences covering the war, 9-11, civil rights and one other topic. The DNC 2008 platform is 58 pages. Couldn’t view it as my WIN98/adobe/56k dialup couldn’t load or handle it. Tried to extricate and nearly crashed the computer.
Checked out the RNC website. They have a 68 page platform that again, my computer couldn’t handle. I have tried to view the Nader website months ago but my computer couldn’t handle that one either. I do prefer a somewhat reduced agenda targeting reform and explicit in communicating to the voters exactly what the party will try to achieve. I have about 31 reform issues listed on my website. Need to assimilate, prioritize, and get that down to about 20.
I have visited about 30 other party websites and as I said previously, the agendas vary from none to a few general statements. Only a couple of them offer a potentially viable agenda. The Constitution Party’s agenda is menu driven from about 30 titles and is the most sensible. A few are pseudo reform issues, most are domestic (drugs, pornography,etc) with a significant religious bent.

Well, I wouldn’t want to support any of them. If I could find two or three ‘blithering idots’ like myself I would take to the street corners and hawk my wares.
Weary Willie do this for me. Go thru the 30 something issues and count the ones you feel represent desirable government reform. I’m way curious.
I’d very much like for someone to point me to a party with a REAL reform agenda. I’d be interested to see how you might present reform issues to the public.
Stephen. And Rocky Marts. Good grief! Surely Andrew Jackson didn’t have to go thru this. If you have 30 specific and separate issues why not list them in sequence? Why go thru some abstract process and expect all of your readers to intepret what you are trying to convey?
Weary Willie, maybe you are taking me to task on the OVERSIGHT issue. I ask you, do you believe there is a lack of accountability for politicians in government? Is it too much to ask that a politcal candidate be briefed on an agenda approved by the membership, and that if elected the politician should communicate with the Party on his intentions and if the agenda says black and the politican votes white should members not be able to hold him accountable, vote him up or down and maybe reject his membership? Use the amnesty thing as an example.
Further, how would you put accountability into the political equation? Do you see this approach as to radical, ill conceived, etc?
I can type fast and I’ve an open mind on this third party thing but I need to be convinced that someone has a better mousetrap. Show me something in writing please.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 13, 2008 9:52 PM
Comment #270306

Stephen, your reply implies trust in the Parties. That does NOT exist, except in a very relative sense to each other. Currently, voters trust the Democratic Party more than the GOP, but, they trust neither party very much at all according to the polls and the dramatic rise in independent voter registrations now outnumbering Dem or Rep. registants.

Again, your article falls flat. A third party with the elements I described could very easily, in this environment of disgust and mistrust of both the duopoly parties, take off and rob one or the other of the duopoly parties of their dominant role in the federal government.

The voters are acutely aware of the musical chairs game D’s and R’s play while both send our nation ever deeper into debt and social, cultural decay brought on by historically unprecedented specialization and interdependence to the extent that, when the U.S. economy falters, the entire world economy plunges. This is not a healthy state of affairs, Stephen D., nor was it an inevitability. The D’s and R’s brought our nation to this position of gross dependency and debt.

A very large minority of voters would jump at a viable alternative party that had the right platform, face, and organizational capacity to contend. Everyone knows the history of the Democratic Party, same as the GOP, their mission is to acquire and hold power by any means necessary or able. We have witnessed this subversion of the people’s and nation’s future needs time and again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 13, 2008 9:59 PM
Comment #270311

David R. Remer-
Trust to be able run a government, not necessarily run it the way we’d like. As for the rest? I’m not one to enjoy notions of interchangeability, not after years of Bush and the Republican Congress. I remember the difference.

Maybe a third party will help things. That’s why I’m not vocally opposed to one. Competition keeps people on their toes. But I think to be competitive, a third party must relate to people in a fresh, not canned way.

Those paragraphs, with all the third party jargon probably won’t impress people who don’t already carry around your sentiments. Better yet, leave out the partisan elements, and speak directly to people about the situation and the policy that relates to it. Symmetry is a watchword for me. I try to make my arguments work both as I imagine them, and as the other person gets them.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 14, 2008 12:11 AM
Comment #270313

Third parties have absolutely ZERO chance whatsoever of increasing their power and visibility in the United States for now or in the foreseeable future. I’m not saying that this is either a good or bad thing, but it’s a pretty undeniable fact. Here’s why.

Look at political systems elsewhere in the world which include more than two major parties. You’ll find that these are by and large parliamentary systems in which a governing majority is worked out after elections through the building of coalitions, and these coalitions often do a whole lot of shifting around.

Other countries sometimes even “call elections” at irregular intervals, but we have a set pattern that we never deviate from. Presidential elections every four years, major Congressional elections every two years. This dictates a lot of what is even possible.

Our two parties parties morph all the time to accommodate changes in what the public wants, and that morphing can be deliberately timed to elections.

Again, whether good or bad, that’s just how it is. The coalition-building in our system takes place much differently from how others do it.

That’s why we have Democrats, a coalition that includes organized labor, most ethnic minorities, and certain business interests (among other groups), and Republicans, a coalition that includes socially conservative types, libertarian types, and different business interests than those attracted to Democrats.

These different groups in each party aren’t all a bunch of separate parties. The coalition-building that happens among parties in other countries is already BUILT INTO our two-party system.

A third party can’t gain traction here under this system. If our governing party falls out of favor, the other major party morphs its message, incorporates what the public is saying and presents itself as the alternative.

Here’s what invariably happens: if a third-party ever has a winning message in opposition to the status quo, you can bet that the out-of-power major party has already co-opted it.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at November 14, 2008 1:42 AM
Comment #270315

Stephen,
Let’s be honest shall we? You said

Frankly, I’ve never been fond of politics or bloviating on the topic

Your posts are usually the longest of anyone besides d.a.n. and that’s only because he cites so much data in his posts. For someone who is not fond of politics (or bloviating), you have somehow managed to write 1,000,000+ words on the topic since I first stumbled on watchblog.

As for the 3rd party, there is no hope for a third party because this is an already existing war between two powerful sides. It’s too easy to blame the enemy when things don’t go as planned, to legitimize a third party. The only way a third party candidate could happen would be if a candidate got to the very end of the primary with tremendous support and gobs of dollars, LOST the primary, and then converted to run on the independent or libertarian ticket and was legitimized by the government-media complex and allowed to participate (and subsequently dominate) the debates.

Starting on a 3rd party ticket is a recipe for some deflated loser pie that no one wants to eat except Ralph Nader - who (God bless him) does his diligence each cycle and repeats the all-too-true axiom that the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Vote Out Incumbents NOW.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at November 14, 2008 2:38 AM
Comment #270318

LO-
I believe it can happen. But if it does, it has to get traction at the local level. And it may take time.

Yukon Jake-
I said “on the topic”. Economics being the politics I said. I don’t like to blow around hot air. I’ll write my articles and my responses at essay length, but I’m going to do my best not to bore people in the process.

On the subject of a third party, if you look at things merely on a spectrum, then it’s impossible. But I don’t think it is. What I think, though, is that any third party has to either prove its credentials and its judgment at the lower level, or it must take a position compelling to the public that either the main parties are too hesitant to take up full-heartedly, or one that the public doesn’t think they’re taking seriously. Or both.

It’s a question of speed. Financing helps, but so does grassroots support. The party can start out regional. But it’s got to prove itself useful, and quickly corner the market on whatever distinguishes it from the other side. It’s got to be clear that when the parties try to horn in on their territory that they’re just pale imitations.

As for Ralph Nader? Given what he stands for, he’s the biggest loser possible. Yes, the lesser of two evils is still evil. But damn it, it’s LESS evil. Only a moron lets the worse of two evils come to pass to make a point. Nader deliberately picked the states he ran in, in 2000, to try and knock electoral votes out of Gore’s column. He tried to do the same thing in 2004, though the vote came down too broadly for his influence to matter that time.

And you see what results? Maybe he was trying to teach a lesson. But the lesson he has taught is almost more than this nation can bear. He let his ego set back just about every issue he cared about just to punish the rest of the country.

Nader is pathetic. When I wanted to support a progressive agenda, I supported progressive candidate. We are smart enough as a species that we don’t have to make mistakes and double down on them to learn. We got to be smarter, and more decisive than we’ve been for quite some time.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 14, 2008 7:33 AM
Comment #270327

Back to square one. Joel, I agree third parties have little chance of coming to fruition or delivering reform UNLESS;
they are significantly distinctive from other parties;

they put accountability into the political equation.
they present an agenda that stresses reform issues with minimize social issues.
they present a vision or futuristic view of what party achievements might look like downstream.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 14, 2008 11:00 AM
Comment #270338
Yukon Jake wrote:Stephen, Let’s be honest shall we? You said:
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Frankly, I’ve never been fond of politics or bloviating on the topic
Your posts are usually the longest of anyone besides d.a.n. and that’s only because he cites so much data in his posts. For someone who is not fond of politics (or bloviating), you have somehow managed to write 1,000,000+ words on the topic since I first stumbled on watchblog.
Probably closer to 5 million (at 250,000 lines with 20 words per line).
      : )
Stephen Daugherty wrote:d.a.n- I don’t think the Democrats will be blamed for the economic situation, providing we don’t do something to make it fundamentally worse.
That’s the problem. Congress is very likely to make things worse.

Why change now when Congress is repeatedly rewarded for doing worse?
Things are very likely to get worse for many years, unless Congress suddenly acquires extaordinary discipline and fiscal and moral responsibility.
That ain’t likely since 95% of Congress was just re-elected.
It’s delusional to believe that Congress is suddenly going to stop fueling and wallowing in the partisan warfare, when the voters just rewarded them for it with 95% re-election rates.

Do you think economic conditions for 2005-to-2007-to-2008 will be better than 2009-to-2010-to2012?
Because, if economic conditions are not better after 2-to-4 years, Democrats (with a total majority) will be blamed too.
Unfortunately, that is what too many voters do, and by failing to understand that the problem is most (if not all) incumbent politicians, they simply allow the IN-PARTY/OUT-PARTY to play musical chairs.

Stephen Daugherty wrote: I don’t think people’s memories are any shorter than they were in the Great Depression, or in the recessions of the seventies.
Maybe. But if things are worse, the new IN-PARTY will be faced with the usual question:
    Are you better off today than you were in 2008?
That is, this recession could last several years, since:
  • (01) foreclosures took 4 years to ramp up to 10,000 per day, and will take several years to ramp down.
    • ________________FORECLOSURES__________________
    • 350,000 |—————————————————————-
    • 325,000 |—————————————————————- 10,000
    • 300,000 |—————————————————————x foreclosures
    • 275,000 |————————————————————xx- per day
    • 250,000 |————————————————x——-xx—- 31-AUG-2008
    • 225,000 |———————————————-x-x-xxx——-
    • 200,000 |———————————————-x—x———-A
    • 175,000 |——————————————xxx—————-U
    • 150,000 |————————————xxxx———————G
    • 125,000 |——————-x———xxxx—————————U
    • 100,000 |——————x-xxxxxx———————————S
    • 075,000 |xxxxxxxxxxxx———————————————T
    • 050,000 |—————————————————————-
    • 025,000 |—————————————————————-
    • 000,000 |____________________________________________YEAR
    • _____(2004)__(2 0 0 5)__(2 0 0 6)__(2 0 0 7)__(2 0 0 8)
  • (02) the massive $54-to-$67 Trillion nation-wide debt problem isn’t going away anytime soon.
    • ____________ NATIONAL DEBT (NOMINAL) ______________________
    • $11.0T |————————————————————————-
    • $10.5T |———————————————————————-x-
    • ($10.6 Trillion)
    • $10.0T |———————————————————————-x-
    • $09.5T |———————————————————————-x-
    • $09.0T |———————————————————————x—
    • $08.5T |——————————————————————-x—-
    • $08.0T |——————————————————————x——
    • $07.5T |—————————————————————-x——-
    • $07.0T |—————————————————————x———
    • $06.5T |————————————————————-x———-
    • $06.0T |————————————————————x————
    • $05.5T |———————————————————x—————
    • $05.0T |—————————————————-x-:—————-
    • $04.5T |————————————————-x—-:—————-
    • $04.0T |————————————————x——:—————-
    • $03.5T |———————————————-x——-:—————-
    • $03.0T |——————————————-x———-:—————-
    • $02.5T |—————————————-xx————:—————-
    • $02.0T |———————————-xx——————:—————-
    • $01.5T |——————————-xx———————:—————-
    • $01.0T |————————xxxxx-:———————:—————-
    • $00.5T |xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx———:———————:—————-
    • $00.0T |———————————+———————+—————-
    • ______1——1——1——1——1—1-1——1——1—1-2——2—2
    • ______9——9——9——9——9—9-9——9——9—9-0——0—0
    • ______6——6——7——7——8—8-8——9——9—9-0——0—0
    • ______0——5——0——5——0—3-5——0——5—8-0——5—8
  • (03) monetary system problems are very likely to continue to be ignored. We have had incessant positive inflation for 52 consecutive years (since year 1956), and it’s trending higher since year 2007:
    • ____INFLATION RATE by post-1998 inflation measurement method ____
    • 6.00%|——————————-
    • 5.50%|—————————-x-
    • 5.00%|—————————x-x- 4.94%
    • 4.50%|————————-x—- 30-SEP-2008
    • 4.00%|———————xxx——
    • 3.50%|——————-x———-
    • 3.00%|——-x———x———-S
    • 2.50%|—x-x-xxxx x————E
    • 2.00%|-x-x———x————-P
    • 1.50%|x—————————-T
    • 1.00%|——————————-
    • 0.50%|——————————-
    • 0.00%|_____________________YEAR
    • ______2___2___2___2____2____2
    • ______0___0___0___0____0____0
    • ______0___0___0___0____0____0
    • ______6___7___7___8____8____9
    • _____SEP_JAN_JUN_JAN__JUL
    Not to mention, the inflation calculation was modified in year 1983 and 1998 to decrease the weighting of some CPI items increasing in price, and increase the weighting of CPI items falling in price. Therefore, by pre-1983 and pre-1998 inflation measurement methods, inflation is actually more than 4.94%.
    • _____________ INFLATION RATES (as of SEP-2008)___________
    • 16.0% |———————————————————-
    • 15.5% |——————————————————-3-
    • 15.0% |——————————————————-33
    • 14.5% |——————————————————-33 (14.4% pre-1983)
    • 14.0% |——————————————————-3-
    • 13.5% |——————————————————3—
    • 13.0% |——————————————————3—
    • 12.5% |——————————————————3—
    • 12.0% |——————————————————3—
    • 11.5% |——————————-3——————-3—-
    • 11.0% |——————————3-333—————3—-
    • 10.5% |—————————-3——-3————-3—-
    • 10.0% |3————-3———33———3——-33-3——
    • 09.5% |-3———-3 3——3————-3—33—3—-8-
    • 09.0% |—3——-3—-3333—————-3-3———-88 (9.0% pre-1998)
    • 08.5% |—-3—-3——————————3————8-
    • 08.0% |——333——————————————-8—
    • 07.5% |——————————-8——————-8—-
    • 07.0% |——————————8-888—————8—-
    • 06.5% |—————————-8——-8————-8—-
    • 06.0% |8————-8———88———8——-88-8——
    • 05.5% |-8———-8 8——8————-8—88—8—-c-
    • 05.0% |—8——-8—-8888—————-8-8———-cc (4.94% current method)
    • 04.5% |—-8—-8——————-c———8————c-
    • 04.0% |c—-888——————-c-ccc—————-c—
    • 03.5% |-c————————-c——-c—————c—
    • 03.0% |—c———-c———cc———c————-c—-
    • 02.5% |—c———c-c——c————-c——cc-c——
    • 02.0% |—-c——c—-cccc—————-c-cc—c——-
    • 01.5% |——c—c——————————c—————
    • 01.0% |——-cc————————————————
    • 00.5% |———————————————————-
    • 00.0% |———————————————————-
    • _______2——2——2——2——2——2——2——2—S
    • _______0——0——0——0——0——0——0——0—E
    • _______0——0——0——0——0——0——0——0—P
    • _______1——2——3——4——5——6——7——8—T
    • WHERE:
    • 3=Pre-1983 Inflation measurement method
    • 9=Pre-1998 Inflation measurement method
    • c=Current Inflation measurement method
  • (04) illegal immigration is likely to get worse; especially if another shamnesty is passed, similar to the shamnesty of 1986, which more than quadrupled the problem. Illegal immigration has never been worse and more costly, costing American citizens an estimated $70 Billion to $338 Billion annually in net losses. The problem has quadrupled since the amnesty of year 1986. Hundreds of overrun hospitals have closed (60-to-84 in California alone), California is now laying off 20,000 teachers in the public school system. 29% of all people incarcerated in Federal prisons are illegal aliens. The politicians (despicably) capitalize on it in 3 ways:
    • by pitting American citizens and illegal aliens against each other for profits and to depress wages (Wage_Stagnation + Cheap_Labor = Big_Profits);
    • by dividing the voters (capitalizing on Americans misplaced compassion for illegal aliens more than their fellow Americans);
    • and by pandering for votes;
  • (05) Unemployment is trending higher and is predicted to get much worse (possibly double digits) by year 2010.
    • ______________ CIVILIAN UNEMPLOYMENT _________________
    • 6.6% |———————————————————————
    • 6.5% |—————————————————-xxxx———- (6.5% OCT-2008)
    • 6.4% |—————————————————-x—————
    • 6.3% |—————————————————-x—————
    • 6.2% |—————————————————-x—————
    • 6.1% |—————————————-xxxxxxxxx—————
    • 6.0% |—————————————-x—————————
    • 5.9% |—————————————-x—————————
    • 5.8% |—————————————-x—————————
    • 5.7% |———————————-xxxxx—————————
    • 5.6% |———————————-x———————————
    • 5.5% |———————-xxxxxxxxx———————————
    • 5.4% |———————-x———————————————
    • 5.3% |———————-x———————————————
    • 5.2% |———————-x———————————————
    • 5.1% |———-xxxxx—-x———————————————
    • 5.0% |———-x—-xxxxx———————————————
    • 4.9% |xxxx—-x———————————————————
    • 4.8% |—-xxxxx———————————————————
    • 4.7% |———————————————————————
    • _____Jan_Feb_Mar_Apr_May_Jun_Jul_Aug_Sep_Oct_Nov_Dec (2008)
  • (06) The wealth disparity gap continues to grow, and has never worse since the Great Depression.
    • 40% of WEALTH OWNED by 1% of U.S. Population:
    • 45.0% |—x——————-
    • 42.5% |-x-x——————
    • 40.0% |x—x—————-x 40%
    • 37.5% |—-x—————x-
    • 35.0% |——x—x——-x—
    • 32.5% |——x-x-x——x—
    • 30.0% |——-x—-x—x—-
    • 27.5% |————-x—x—2
    • 25.0% |—————x-x—0
    • 22.5% |—————x-x—0
    • 20.0% |—————-x—-8
    • 17.5% |————————
    • 00.0% |—————+————YEAR
    • ______ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2
    • ______ 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 0
    • ______ 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1
    • ______ 0 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 0 0
    • ________ \/
    • ________ Great
    • ________ Depression
  • (07) Savings rates have been negative since year 2005, and have reached the largest negative rate (-0.5 to -1.5%) since year 1933.
    • Savings Rate (percent of disposable income):
    • +3.66% |————————————————————————————
    • +3.33% |——————o—————————————————————-
    • +3.00% |—————-o-o—o-o——————————————————-
    • +2.66% |——o———o-o—o-o——————————————————-
    • +2.33% |o-o—o——-o-o-o—-o———o-o-o———-o————————-
    • +2.00% |———o-o—o—oo——o-o-o———-o-o—o-o————————
    • +1.66% |————-o-o—oo——————————o—o————————
    • +1.33% |—————o—-oo———————————-o————————
    • +1.00% |———————oo———————————-o————————
    • +0.66% |———————oo————————————o———————-
    • +0.33% |———————o————————————-o———————-
    • +0.00% +————————————————————-o——————————+
    • -0.33% |—————————————————————o—-o-o———-
    • -0.66% |—————————————————————o—-o—o———
    • -1.00% |—————————————————————-o-o—-o——o-
    • -1.33% |—————————————————————-o-o——o-o—-
    • -1.66% |——————————————————————o—————-
    • -2.00% |————————————————————————————
    • -2.33% |(2000)______________________________________(2007)YEAR
    • An increase from $40,000 in year 1978 to $43,066 in year 2006 is not great when also considering there are now more workers per household than 30 years ago, more regressive taxations, and the net losses of an estimated $70-to-$327 Billion annually due to illegal immigration)
  • (08) Despite some recent reductions in oil and fuel prices, the U.S. is still dangerously dependent on foreign oil.
  • (09) Home equities have never been lower (below 50%) since year 1945.
  • (10) Home ownership has fallen since year 2006 for low-income and middle-income groups. A study shows that only 59.6% of working class families owned their homes in 2003, lower than the 62.5% in year 1978. That is, home ownership is rising among the wealthy, while falling for most Americans that are losing wealth, losing equity, losing income, and losing their homes at record levels. Currently, home ownership is in a record plunge, and the 4th quarter of 2007 had the biggest one-year drop (1.1%) since tracking began in year 1965.
  • (11) Taxation has been regressive since year 2000 (or before). We have never had so many different kinds of taxes; many of which are regressive sales taxes. The current tax code is ridiculously complex (by design) with a myriad of tax loop-holes that mostly benefit the wealthy. And taxing corporations more will not make anything better, since corporations will simply pass those costs along to consumers, or move out of the country. How about simply making the tax system, at the very least, non-regressive?
  • (12) Federal government bloat has never been worse, and continues to grow to nightmare proportions. There are now more jobs in government than all manufacturing nation-wide.
  • (13) Medicare has hundreds of billions of unfunded liabilities per year, which are being funded by more borrowing and debt. It is not sustainable; especially with the approaching 77 million baby-boomer bubble. In year 2007, Medicare (16%) and Medicaid (7%) combined were 23% of the $2.7 Trillion federal budget:
    • Year 2007: $432 Billion (16% of federal budget)
    • Year 2006: $374 Billion (14% of federal budget)
    • Year 2005: $333 Billion (13% of federal budget)
    • Year 2000: $216 Billion (12% of federal budget)
    • Year 1990: $107 Billion ( 9% of federal budget)
    • Year 1980: $034 Billion ( 6% of federal budget)
    • Year 1970: $007 Billion ( 4% of federal budget)
  • (14) GDP has actually been falling since year 2006, when measured in any previous inflation adjusted U.S. Dollar (e.g. whether it be 1950 or 2005 dollars):
  • __________________ GDP (in 2005 Dollars) ___________
  • $14.5T |——————————————————————
  • $14.0T |————————————————————-x—
  • $13.5T |————————————————————x-x-
  • $13.0T |————————————————————x-x-
  • $12.5T |————————————————————x-x-
  • $12.0T |———————————————————-x——
  • $11.5T |———————————————————-x——
  • $11.0T |———————————————————-x——
  • $10.5T |———————————————————-x——
  • $10.0T |———————————————————-x——
  • $09.5T |———————————————————x——-
  • $09.0T |———————————————————x——-
  • $08.5T |——————————————————-x———
  • $08.0T |—————————————————-x————
  • $07.5T |————————————————-x—————
  • $07.0T |———————————————-x——————
  • $06.5T |——————————————-x———————
  • $06.0T |——————————————x———————-
  • $05.5T |—————————————-x————————
  • $05.0T |—————————————x————————-
  • $04.5T |————————————-x—————————
  • $04.0T |————————————x—————————-
  • $03.5T |———————————-x——————————
  • $03.0T |———————————x——————————-
  • $02.5T |————————-xxxxx———————————
  • $02.0T |————————x—————————————-
  • $01.5T |———————-x——————————————
  • $01.0T |———-xxxxxxxx——————————————-
  • $00.5T |xxxxxxx——————————————————-
  • $00.0T |——————————————————————
  • _______1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2
  • _______9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 0 0
  • _______0 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 0 0 1
  • _______0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0
  • _________________ GDP (in 1950 Dollars) ___________

  • $1.7T |——————————————————————

  • $1.6T |—————————————————————x-

  • $1.5T |————————————————————-x-x

  • $1.4T |————————————————————x—-

  • $1.3T |———————————————————-x——

  • $1.2T |——————————————————-x———

  • $1.1T |——————————————————x———-

  • $1.0T |—————————————————-x————

  • $0.9T |————————————————-x—————

  • $0.8T |———————————————-x——————

  • $0.7T |——————————————-x———————

  • $0.6T |—————————————-x————————

  • $0.5T |————————————-x—————————

  • $0.4T |———————————x——————————-

  • $0.3T |————————xxxxxx———————————

  • $0.2T |———————-x——————————————

  • $0.1T |xxxxxxxxxxxxxx———————————————

  • $0.0T |——————————————————————

  • _______1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2

  • _______9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0 0 0

  • _______0 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 0 0 1

  • _______0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0 5 0

  • That dip (shown above in year 2006) has never happened before since year 1900 (if not ever).


  • (15) Many manifestations of unchecked greed:
    • A massive derivative bubble is about to burst. With high inflation and people running all about like chickens with their head cut-off, looking for investments to avoid the incessant erosion of their money, the U.S. financial sector dishonestly and deviously sold debt to foreign investors. It started with shady loans to Americans and then bundling those bad loans into complex financial instruments (CDOs (Collateralized Debt Obligation), SIVs (Structured Investment Vehicles), ABSs (Asset Backed Securities), CDSs (Credit Default Swaps), etc). However, as time went on and the inflows of foreign money into dollars increased, financial institutions became reckless in their efforts to manufacture AAA products. They made loans to sub-prime borrowers (sub-prime CDOs) and used financial wizardry to create securities out of thin air (synthetic CDOs). Towards the peak of this financial greed and insanity, banks added large amounts of leverage to their exotic investment products (sub-prime CDOs-squared, and CPDOs (Constant Proportion Debt Obligations)), and built complex, highly leveraged, off-balance sheet vehicles which funded themselves with short term debt (SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles), SPEs (Special Purpose Entities), VIEs (Variable Interest Entity), and SIVs). Through financial engineering and the mis-pricing of risk, the value of derivatives now far exceeds the amount of real assets and economic resources in the U.S. In addition to the derivative bubble, financial institutions used leverage to sell insurance on an enormous amount of debt, creating today’s $55 trillion CDS (Credit Default Swaps) market. In order to de-leverage and close out their positions, CDS issuers are being forced to buy back huge quantities of insurance, driving up the cost of insuring corporate debt. The higher premiums for CDS translate as higher loan rates for corporations and governments.
    • Structurally unbalanced economy. Incessant inflation for 52 consecutive years, easy credit, predatory loan practices, and massive debt over the last two decades have warped the U.S. economy. For example:
      • (a) Bloated Financial Sector: While packaging risky U.S. debt into exotic vehicles for foreign investors, the financial sectors grew until it consumed 27% of corporate America’s total profits. As the credit crunch fuels the disintegration of the financial sector, it leaves a gapping whole in the economy, and increased unemployment.

      • (b) Automakers dependent on cheap gas: U.S. automakers invested in producing fuel guzzling cars and SUVs. When inflation pushes oil back up over $100, a large part of America’s automobile industry will go bankrupt.

      • (c) Leveraged Stock Buybacks: Many companies (like General Electric) issued large amounts of debt (commercial paper or corporate bonds) to fund share buybacks to prop up stock prices, and are now having trouble paying those loans back, in addition to having trouble getting more loans.

      • (d) Outsourced manufacturing: Companies that outsourced large portions of their manufacturing overseas, to lower labor costs, whose primary markets are in the U.S., will see labor costs increase as inflation of the U.S. Dollar increases.

    • Most Consumers are tapped out and broke: 40% of Americans (on average) have ZERO net worth. The wealth disparity gap has been growing worse since year 1976. In an economy that is mostly fueled by consumer spending, most consumers being broke is an obvious problem. Many Americans wealth has been decimated by deflating home values, upside-down loans, falling stock prices, outsourcing and competition with cheap oversea labor, stagnant and/or falling wages, inflation, etc., etc., etc. And tightening credit is limiting Americans ability to borrow more (which may be a good thing). The next year does not look good at all with hundreds of thousands in job cuts in the pipeline and America’s middle-class already getting poorer every day.

  • (16) Healthcare: sky rocketing costs. Healthcare is not only increasingly unaffordable and bankrupting thousands of Americans each year, but very dangerous too! HealthGrades.com reported (27-July-2004) that “An average of 195,000 people in the U.S. died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a new study of 37 million patient records”. Since 1999, that is over 1.5 million people killed by preventable medical mistakes. That is more than all the American soldiers killed in the American Revolution (4,435), the War of 1812 (2,260), the Indian Wars (1,000), the Mexican War (1,733), the Civil War (462,000), the Spanish American War (385), WWI (53,402), WWII (291,557), Vietnam War (58,209), Korean War (36,574), the Iraq Gulf War (529), and the current Iraq war Mar-2003-present (3,963), combined!

  • (17) Declining transparency in government (i.e. the U.S.A. Corruption Perception Index has fallen for 10 years): www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2007

  • (18) Declining quality and rising costs of education; education costs are now higher while the quality of education has declined, higher education (i.e. college) is becoming unaffordable, one third of young Americans are unable to locate the state of Louisiana, 48% between ages 18 and 24 can’t find the Mississippi river, and 60% can’t find Iraq on a world map, 47% can not find India on a world map, and 75% think English is the most widely spoken language world-wide, many Americans don’t know (or care) what the National Debt is, and 99% of Americans are totally unaware that their monetary system is nothing more than a dishonest, usurious pryamid scheme that was signed into existence by Woodrow Wilson in 1913, etc.,

  • (19) Unfair trade practices; if that isn’t stopped, it will be hard to create jobs in the U.S.; unemployed Americans will be watching;

  • (20) If Barack Obama still fails to end the war in Iraq, that alone could guarantee his ousting from office in year 2012.

As time goes by, this economic mess will be studied more, and most voters are likely to conclude that those to blame include Democrat politicians just as well as Republicans. And unfortunately, most voters will still fail to see that they are culpable too.

So, how likely is it really, based on those things above (created by both Democrats and Republicans), that economic conditions will be better 2-to-4 years from now?

Here’s how Congress, the U.S. Treasury, and the Federal Reserve may make the problem much worse:

    more debt from more borrowing, more creating money out of thin air, more pork-barrel, more subsidies and corporate welfare, more waste, and more rampant spending, and more of the same.

I hope not, but how realistic is it to expect anything but more of the same after 30+ years of the same?
And whose most likely to get most of the blame for it? The IN-PARTY or the OUT-PARTY ?
How many times have voters merely switched between the IN/OUT PARTY, without any significant change?

The fact is, things are so serious now, it will require extraordinary fiscal and moral responsibility to avoid a lot of unnecessary pain and misery, and the odds of that (based on a 30+ year track record), ain’t very good.

Stephen Daugherty wrote: I’m looking for substantial and substantive improvement to our policies, not simply some coasting on the negative feelings towards the Republicans.
That would be wise, because it ain’t gonna work much longer.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: While I am not shy about arguing against the Republican’s policies or candidates, …
No. There’s little (if any) danger of anyone thinking that.
Stephen Daugherty wrote: I supported Barack Obama because I sensed that while Hillary could win an election, she could not effect real change in the system. She was too much a product of the system, rather than the author of a different one. I have hopes that Obama will change things, but not merely for political reasons; my aim was always an improvement in policy and the situation of this country.
When winning seats for one’s own party becomes more important than everything else, that is not real patriotism; not when they love their country more than their party.

That most certainly exists, and there is far too much of it.

What does it mean when voters give Congress:

  • dismal 9%-to-18% approval ratings,

  • but, reward 95% of incumbent politicians in Congress with re-election?

Yukon Jake wrote: Vote Out Incumbents NOW.
Most voters will most likely do that very thing, when things get painful enough.

The sooner, the better.

When things are bad enough, voters will probably repeat what most voters did in 1933 when they ousted 206 members of Congress (59 Democrats, 147 Republicans).
That might get their attention.

At any rate, the voters have the government that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at November 14, 2008 4:21 PM
Comment #270381

Dan-
The reasonably informed reader has some sense of much of what you post up there. But it gets kind of tedious going through all that, so it’s going to get skipped. Argue on a need to know basis.

I think you underestimate the ability of politics to shift greatly on small numbers. I think it’s a fallacy in such a complex environment to assume that big numbers and big change are always synonymous. Sometime, it’s the nail and the horseshoe that changes the course of history.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 15, 2008 2:30 PM
Comment #270386
Stephen Daugherty wrote: I think you underestimate the ability of politics to shift greatly on small numbers.
Care to provide any examples?

Your comments reveal a blindly partisan bias and naivete that over-estimates the ability of small numbers in the new IN-PARTY to shift politics such that many (if any) reforms will now magically occur, when 95% of the same incumbents are still in Congress.

Change? Not likely, when the major abuses are likely to continue. Taxation may become a little fairer, but some things are likely to get worse. Especially illegal immigration. Especially with 12-to-20 illegal aliens gaming our health care, welfare, Medicaid, education, voting systems, etc.

Posted by: d.a.n at November 15, 2008 3:17 PM
Comment #270400

Stephen D: A search of memory reveals no major changes in government resulting from small numbers. I wouldn’t argue with small numbers like the Kennedy assassinattion. Got a change there. And, it’s true that in some cases small numbers can have circumstance. For example; a 6 percent inflation figure, while a small absolut, is disturbing to me. Extremely disturbing in that I am aware its more like 12%. But heck, we get no government action out of big numbers either. Like a $70T debt. Or, an invasion force of 10-20M people. I guess if you look at it as 10% of the population of Mexico then the number 10 isn’t so big. Yeah, I guess it’s all in how you look at it. Status Quo!

Change isn’t the solution. We need reform.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 15, 2008 6:09 PM
Comment #270405

Well, Stephen, maybe I have to eat crow. I’m hearing that in Nebraska they have had 28 young people, 9 from other states, left for the State to care for. That caused such an uproar in State government that they called a special weekend session to tighten up on the law. 28 - that is a relatively small number. Kinda confusing as there ain’t that kind of reaction to the 10-20M illegals smoozin on the welfare rolls. But - I gotta give you that one.

Change is not the solution. Reform is needed.

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 15, 2008 7:51 PM
Comment #270409

Dan-
500 in Florida in 2000. One supreme court justice, same election. Jim Jeffords switching sides in 2000.

You and Roy both talk about change, but the issues you focus on are more or less the wedge issues that Republican candidates have used to distract people from their failures, from their bad policies elsewhere.

If you want change, maybe the change is stepping back and not letting people stir up your emotions so easily.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at November 15, 2008 8:46 PM
Comment #270427

don’t care much about change. i want reform

Otherwise, we have the government we deserve!

Posted by: Roy Ellis at November 16, 2008 12:06 PM
Comment #270430
Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n-500 in Florida in 2000. One supreme court justice, same election. Jim Jeffords switching sides in 2000.
The point was not just any change.

The point was positive change (reforms) based on small numbers?

Overall, would you say there has been more good, or more bad change in the federal government in the last 30 years?

If it is good, what examples of small numbers of people brought it about?
What changed after the previous election of 7-NOV-2006?
What reforms came about?
And what changed?
Did things get better, or worse?
Care to provide any examples of that?
Then, perhaps the near giddy optimism so many people seem to now have will have some footing in reality?

Stephen Daugherty wrote: You and Roy both talk about change, but the issues you focus on are more or less the wedge issues that Republican candidates have used to distract people from their failures, from their bad policies elsewhere.
False.

I’m not a Republican, nor do I use Republican wedge issues, nor did I vote for any Republicans in the federal government.
So, your comments, again, lack credibility.

Strange how some people accuse others of petty, blind partisan loyalty, when they themselves are the most well-known epitome of anything not-Democrat.

It’s not surprising when some people conclude that anything and anyone else that is non-Democrat must be an evil Republican (when they aren’t), as evidenced by the following partisan statements and the constant fueling and wallowing in the blind, circular, petty, partisan-warfare:

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: They [Republicans] cheat on their wives, get caught in the wrong kind of stances, wearing age-inappropriate underclothes and it never becomes a reason to return campaign funds. But that’s how desperate they are at this point. {Only Republicans do that?}

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: The Republicans have the choice, which I gladly let them have, of doing scuzzy things so they can make the Democrats look bad … {Only Republicans do that?}
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: How many people curse the Green party for George W. Bush (43) getting elected?

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I don’t disdain third parties. {Really? See the previous statement and the next 2 statements.}

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n- If third parties can’t win offices, what good are they to the voter?

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Being spoilers [independent/3rd party voters] only ensures being fringe…

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: … because then your [3rd] parties get blamed for sending things in a lousy direction.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: … in my judgment third parties that break leftwards do little good by alienating those closer to them in their array of interests.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I’ve been rather cross about your tendency to call the new [110th elected 7-NOV-2006] congress a do-nothing congress … {Why? What did do-nothing Congress accomplish since 7-NOV-2006 ?}

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I told you that you shouldn’t do it [i.e. call the 110th Congress the “Do-Nothing Congress”], and you‘re free to agree or not to agree with what I’m telling you to do.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Some would retreat to the old comforts of fighting the Republicans{Yes, Yes, those evil Republicans!}

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: It’s what Democrats like myself had to do, after all, to take back the majorities and the White House. {After all, winning seats is all that is important, eh?}

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: We’re [Democrats] hardly dumb enough to take tips on avoiding sleazy connections from the Republicans.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: They [voters] should be allying with us [Democrats].

Stephen Daugherty wrote: You and Roy both talk about change, but the issues you focus on are more or less the wedge issues that Republican candidates have used to distract people from their failures, from their bad policies elsewhere.
Why would non-Republicans like me and Roy want to distract from Republican failures?

Where have I focused on a Republican wedge issue?
Care to provide some proof of it?
Or is it merely a disdain for anything non-Democrat, and a very deep rooted, blind partisan loyalty that perpetuates those delusional and false conclusions?

Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you want change, maybe the change is stepping back and not letting people stir up your emotions so easily.
Again, funny how some people accuse others of the very thing they are doing, and acuse others of petty, blind partisan loyalties, when they themselves are most likely one of the most perfect examples of that very thing they accuse others of being, and in the process, constantly turn themselves into a pretzel trying to rationalize, explain, and defend the indefensible.

Speaking of “stepping back and not letting people stir up your emotions so easily”, how should these comments be categorized

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n, … You had better be prepared …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: If you want to badmouth us …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: You had better come at us with good evidence …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n, … we’ve told you no, we aren’t satisfied with facts you‘ve provided.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: For me, that means putting opinions like yours to the test …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: you‘re trying to win in front of me and everybody else …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Stop flinging rhetoric at me and calling it facts.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: You can get all patronizing about that, …
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Facts, Dan. Facts. Not your opinions, not your conclusions, not your claims, facts. …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Get out of pundit mode, and start treating this …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: You‘re flinging an ad hominem argument at me …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n , You‘re wasting your time.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: You just want people to bow down to your case, as if they should obligated to think in your terms.
  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: To be frank with you, you‘re no better than the people you criticize.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Jeez man, if that’s respect, I’d hate to get on your bad side!

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: Your attacks on the fact that I do have some party association, have done little to convince me that I should abandon them.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n , First, you don’t respect people’s right to have other opinions… .

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I’ve tried to do you the respect of not merely flatly contradicting you

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: d.a.n , Now you‘re trying my patience …

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: To be brutally honest, you‘re not telling me much about modern politicians I don’t already know.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I see it through the eyes of somebody who knows all about technology and the limitations of design.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I chose to be like this. However, I don’t like doing things in a way that I know is arbitrary. It offends me. My comments about third parties are valid.

  • Stephen Daugherty wrote: I have a broader definition of what voter education means, I mean just straight forward learning and being told about what the people in congress are doing… . My bias is obvious.

      : )

Nothin’ emotional, baised, or partisan about none of that, eh?

At any rate, the voters have the do-nothing Congress that the voters elect (and re-elect, and re-elect, and re-elect , … , at least until that finally becomes too painful).

Posted by: d.a.n at November 16, 2008 12:40 PM
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